EUROPE / CATHOLIC CHURCH
The German weekly magazine, “Der Stern,” ran a series of articles this week to report on Europe’s recent switch to the right. The magazine cited Belgian foreign minister Louis Michel’s recent statements, as follows, “‘I was correct to take serious the extreme right, in light of events in Austria, Italy and now France, the homeland of human rights.'” “Der Stern” continued, “With Denmark, a country will preside over Europe in the second half of 2002 which has strongly advocated more serious political measures against foreigners.”
“Der Stern” also pointed out that the campaign against Austria some time ago was initiated by France, a country in which now the right-winged Le Penn has gained every fifth vote in recent elections.
On May 15, another victory for the right was achieved in the Netherlands. After the murder of the right extremist and homosexual politician Pim Fortuyn on May 6, Fortuyn’s party has gained second place and will participate in the next government of Netherlands.
The most famous right-winged European politician is without any doubt Joerg Haider of Austria. “Der Stern” reminded its readership of Haider’s unusual successes over the years, as well as his strong words that always seem to strike a nerve. Haider, a lawyer and millionaire, called Germany’s foreign minister Joschka Fischer of the Greens “a left-winged terrorist,” Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of the Social-Democrats “a fool,” and Jacques Chirac of France a “little tiny Napoleon.” He recently almost destroyed his own party over a disagreement regarding foreign policy, mocked the highest court in Austria and asked the citizens to ignore its ruling, and vehemently criticized Austria’s President. In the midst of preparations by the United States to attack Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Haider chose to officially visit him for the second time within a year. He also announced that he has not “resigned” from Austrian politics.
“Der Stern” stated that Germany’s present government, run by Social-Democrats and the Greens, may have cause for alarm and concern for the national parliamentary elections in September, following their devastating defeat in a recent German state election in Saxony-Anhalt.
The magazine asked the question why we are suddenly seeing such a dramatic switch to the right, after many left and left-liberal governments had ruled Europe for years and decades. One of the reasons, according to “Der Stern,” is the weak economic situation in Europe. Another reason is the terrorist attack on September 11 in the United States, which has brought about a universal feeling of insecurity. Finally, other reasons are the high numbers of criminals in Europe and the uncontrolled immigration of foreigners into Europe.
The German weekly, “Der Spiegel,” asked, “Will the Pope step down prematurely?” According to the article, German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is very close to the Pope and who meets with him at least once each week for confidential discussions just between the two of them, is very concerned about the health of the Pope (82) and does not rule out any longer his premature resignation. The Pope, however, has declared that he does not want to resign.